Thursday, September 3, 2020

Fifty Years of Stains Washed Away

Fifty years ago, in a hurry to begin my married life and enjoy our wedding night, I carelessly threw my wedding gown (stained with wedding reception food, mascara dripping tears, and lipstick kisses that missed my cheeks) into a bag. Except for the few times my daughters and granddaughters played bride, the dress remained untouched and the stains stayed intact.

Next week we celebrate our Fiftieth Anniversary. For fifty years we've dreamed of this day and wondered if we would make it alive and/or still married. We are both alive, still married, and rejoicing at the blessing and satisfaction fifty years of marriage brings. An accomplishment we are thrilled to celebrate. Stay together dear ones. Marriage is worth it. 

For years we've discussed how we will celebrate this marriage milestone. "I'll take you anywhere in the world you want to go." Dan would. He loves to travel. But, here we are in a pandemic. Still quarantined due to my cancer and compromised immune system, we sit in Campbell, NY, population 320. Just the two of us sitting on a hill. What a blessing this time has been for us. No interruptions, meetings, deadlines. The pandemic was a gift of time. Time to talk. And pray. Really share about life and our joys and sorrows. We've had conversations we never would have had except we were shut in a house together for months not permitted to leave. I am thankful.

We haven't been in a store or a restaurant (or had a haircut) since February. I'm told to stay home. So I do. But, what about our anniversary? Can't travel. Can't dine out. In my pandemic world filled with "do not's," there are things we can do. Instead of ho-humming it,  Dan and I are planning a party in our home to celebrate with our children and grandchildren. I can't think of a lovelier way to celebrate the blessings of our marriage than with the gifts of family God gave to us. 

Now, back to the dress. I found my wedding dress (complete with stains) still in the same bag 50 years hence. Thinking the wedding dress should be a decoration for our party, I decided to wash it. What does it matter if it falls apart? I'll throw the dress and the veil in the washing machine (gentle cycle). 

Voila! I couldn't believe it! Just like that, all the stains were washed away. The dress and veil looks brand new. 

My first thought: Isn't that like marriage and isn't that like God. Marriage has stains. Ugly words we wish we had never said. A flirtatious wink we wish we could take back. Sin stains our lives, our marriages, our families, our testimonies. Sin stains. But God says, 

"'Come now, let us settle this,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.'" Isaiah 1:18

Just like my wedding dress, we can be cleaned by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Fifty years, 5 years, or 5 minutes of sins in marriage can be washed away in less time than a wash cycle. 

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 

Let Jesus free you from the pandemic of sin. Ask His forgiveness, ask your beloved's forgiveness, turn from your wrong ways and enjoy the beauty of a new life and a fresh start to your marriage. The best anniversary news I could receive is that someone reads this, confesses their sin, and gives their heart and their marriage to Jesus.

Happy 50th Anniversary to us!


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